Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh Dear

I am horrible at checking the answering machine. After I got home from a family birthday party last night, I went straight to bed and did not get the message that a dear friend of mine had died.

Pat was one of my best mentors when I was coming up in the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. I think the best word to describe her is "fierce". She gave Old Sarge one of the worst dressing-downs of his entire life when, at a county fair, the National Anthem was playing in the grandstands. Old Sarge and another VFW member were standing by the midway doing recruiting; Pat was in the concession stand. She came out of that kitchen so fast and knocked Old Sarge's hat off his head. "You stand at attention when you hear that!" she said, with a look that could have melted steel. OS tried to explain that since he wasn't in the grandstands-"I do NOT give a shit where you are, you can hear it, can't you?? You WILL salute!"- and promptly saluted.

But she was fierce in her love, too. She had her "grandkids"; I never knew if they were all actually hers by birth or strays she picked up along the way, since it was a very mixed litter. Pat didn't care, and those kids loved "Grandma". She was fierce with me, too. Our phone conversations never lasted less than an hour and a half, talking about everything under the sun. I would always have to wipe down the phone and dry my sweaty face afterwards- talking to Pat was a marathon.

The last time I saw her, we snuck out of an Auxiliary meeting and hid in the bathroom smoking because we were bored. Ladies would come and go, giving us reproachful looks, but we just laughed as we sat on the counter, and lit another. I will stop by the Post and pick up a casket flag and Bible. I will press my uniform for the ritual we Ladies do for our sisters, and try to say goodbye.


At 3/15/2007, Anonymous Mrs. Who said...

God Bless a strong lady. My uncle died recently (he was a member of the VFW). Those guys did a marvelous memorial.


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